Copyright © 2016   Pennsylvania National Fire Museum.   All Rights Reserved.    R. E. Lenker

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Tour the Alarm Headquarters room.This is the only fully operational, complete Gamewell Alarm Headquarters Room on display in existence. It is truly one of a kind. Hook the street box and hear the bells, see the tape register punch out the box number, the lights flash and the repeater spin. A truly unique experience.

Richard E. Lenker

Before our Dedication of the Johnstown Gamewell system in November 15 1997, Our alarm technician was laying out plans for a well operating display. With box circuits, primary and secondary alarm circuits. As well as trip lights police boxes, the works.    

Richard started this career with in the city's electrical bureau in the alarm division in 1974. He was the only employees there that has alarm experience when he retired on August 11, 2012.

Now retired from The City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Served in the public works department for 38 years, and the last one who worked on the Gamewell system that was removed in 1990 when he retired.

On August 11, 2012 The call sign Electric One was used for the last time, as Richard called Fire Headquarters and signed off.  A fitting tribute was read by the dispatcher.

Gamewell Fire Box wiring for home use

                    Richard E. Lenker

Before you start don't hook up any power to a fire box or bell with out a current limiting resister you may damage the device.

 I tested three power supplies #1-12 Volt DC  2 Amp, #2 -9 Volt DC. Plug in wall adaptor at 500 Ma. and #3- 9 Volt DC. Plug in wall adaptor at 300 Ma.

The optimum current is to be closest to 100 MA of DC current .The fire box has two sets of coils in them one the clapper bell 16.1 Ohm’s .The other is the main clock coil 16.1 Ohm together they equal 32.2 Ohms.

# 1

 Using a hot 12 Volts DC power supply  showing 13 Volts and a 100 Ohm resister ( Brown Black Brown ) in series with the fire box I got the following results.  113.7 MA.

# 2

 Using a 9 Volts DC 500 Ma  power supply and a 100 Ohm resister    ( Brown Black Brown ) in series with the fire box I got the following results.  108.7 MA.


Using a 9 Volts DC 300 Ma Radio Shack 273-314 power supply and a 68 Ohm resister ( Blue White  Brown ) in series with the fire box I got the following results.  94.7 MA. Just making it.

The power supply:
A good clean DC filtered power supply is preferred, a wall plug in or a larger desk type will due, voltage is not important current is.  You need to be close to 100 MA ( Milliamps)  for the coils to close.

When the power is applied and all the doors are open things will work just fine. Leaving the power on and closing the interior door will change things. In the first paragraph I talked about resistance of the two coils equaling 32 Ohms when the interior door is shut the clapper bell is removed from the circuit changing the resistance back to 16.1ohms for the total circuit. To regulate the current insert a 12volt GE 53 auto bulb in the circuit to limit the current. Ask for part number #272-1117 , with a base #272-355. As always, I recommend a 1/4 amp fuse if you can find them, or a 1/2 amp if that's all you can get This will protect your investment..

The circuit is a series circuit, one side of power to one side of the fire box. The center connection of the fire box is left blank  (unused) The other side of power goes to the resister and through GE 52 bulb and fuse and to the other side of the fire box.               

Part numbers listed are Radio Shack Now not wildly seen.

See  or any 12 V auto incandescent bulb and socket not an LED.